The Darlington Dog Warden Team has scooped two national awards for their ongoing work in the care of stray dogs.
The animal welfare officers were awarded the Stray Dog Footprint Gold standard in the RSPCA’s 2018 PawPrints Awards.
This is the ninth consecutive year the team has received the award, having first achieved Gold standard in 2009.
In recognition of PawPrints’ tenth anniversary, the team was also awarded a Platinum Stray Dogs Footprint.
Launched by the RSPCA in 2008, the PawPrints Aards are the only scheme across England and Wales that recognises good practice from local authorities, housing providers and contingency planners in relation to animal welfare.
The scheme rewards those organisations exceeding basic and statutory service requirements with the aim of achieving higher animal welfare standards, with bronze, silver and gold award levels each carrying progressively more demanding criteria.
Andy Wood, Darlington’s Dog Warden said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be recognised for offering a Gold standard service and it’s a real honour to have been given the Platinum award too, highlighting that those standards have been maintained over a long period.
“We are a small team and we work hard to ensure the highest possible animal welfare standards in the borough.”
Rachel Williams, senior parliamentary advisor for the RSPCA, said: “This is an extremely special year for us as we mark the tenth anniversary of the awards and we have been so impressed with the standard of entries.
“It’s fantastic that Darlington has not only achieved a Gold award, which is a great achievement in itself, but has held it for five years to receive the prestigious Platinum too.
“This is a real testament to the hard work of Darlington’s staff, both this year and over the past five.
One of the ways in which the Darlington Dog Warden Team enhances their service is through the dog food collection initiative.
As part of the initiative, collection boxes are available at Asda on Whinbusy Way, Wilkos and at the council’s Central House Annexe on Gladstone Street.
Shoppers are encouraged to buy an extra tin or bag of dog food – or cat food – and leave it in a marked box near the exit.
The food is then collected by the dog warden and distributed between the Darlington FoodStore Network and Deerness Kennels.
Dog food that ends up in the Darlington FoodStore Network goes towards helping families who are finding it hard to feed their pets.
Food donations to Deerness kennels are always gratefully received and help to drive down the costs of caring for Darlington’s stray dogs.
Andy added: “The dog food collection is just one of the things we do to enhance our service and it’s proved a great success.
“We receive regular donations from all our collection points and it really does help make a difference.”
The awards will be presented to the winning organisations at a special Pawprints Winners Reception and birthday celebration in London in November.
Source: Darlington Borough Council